The first time I heard the music for "The Storm," I knew it was something special. That pivotal point in Bram Stokers Dracula, where Lucy succumbs to Drakuls considerable vampire charisma, possessed boundless passion and energy. Composer Kilars score perfectly matched Francis Ford Coppolas rich, intoxicating visuals. It was a score unlike anything I had heard out of Hollywood. Even the love theme manages to be fiery without resorting to cloying, clichéd cues. It is music that I have come back to in order to revel in its grand themes of love and menace.
Naxos takes the popular tidbits from Bram Stokers Dracula and pads it with some of Kilars lesser-known efforts. The King of the Last Days, Roman Polanskis Death and the Maiden, and Kilars most obscure works, The Beads of One Rosary and Pearl in the Crown, offer a point of reference for Kilars talents before Francis Ford Coppola snapped him up. It is through these older scores that one can hear Kilars early studies for his tragic vampire themes. The desperate mood of the music for Death and the Maiden has more than a passing resemblance to the retrospective and romantic moments between Mina and Drakul. And, via glorious writing for timpani, you can almost hear the violent character of "The Storm" ripping through "Miserere."
As with some other Naxos efforts, the recording is heavy on detail but a little light on color and harmonic texture. I found the original motion-picture soundtrack more alluring and emotionally powerful. I expect the music to drip with the audio equivalent of the oversaturated color that defined Michael Ballhauss cinematography. There are instances where conductor Antoni Wits restraint truncates the emotional power of specific cues. "The Storm" resonates with more orchestral bravado in the original soundtrack.
Despite these flaws, this is a satisfying effort for those who would like to know a little more about the heaven-sent talent of composer Wojciech Kilar. The CD was previously issued on the full price Marco Polo label. It, along with nine other titles, has now been transferred to the regular Naxos label, meaning a 50% cut in price. Thats a real boon for film-music collectors.
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